People in North Carolina who have created a trust-based estate plan might also want to have a pour-over will. There are several reasons this may be a good idea.
A pour-over will places a person's assets in the trust if they have not already been put there or are not passed down through different means. It does have limitations. For example, assets that are passed on through beneficiary designations would not be included in the pour-over will. The assets that are placed in the trust via the pour-over will still have to pass through probate. This is not the case for assets placed directly in a trust.
However, the pour-over will can help ensure that assets are directed as a person intends. Assets that are not passed down by other means, included in a trust or addressed in a pour-over or other type of will are distributed according to state law. This could mean that a person's assets go to family members from whom the person is estranged.
The idea behind a pour-over will is for it to act as a safety net if any property is acquired that the person does not have a chance to place in the trust before dying. It is best to review a trust annually and make any necessary changes based on changes in assets or state law.
Some people may want to talk to an attorney about creating or updating a trust. Trusts have many different uses; they can allow a person to manage how assets are distributed to beneficiaries. For example, the person might only get distributions when reaching a certain age or milestone. They can be designed to both benefit a charitable cause and provide some income to beneficiaries. An attorney may be able to assist in suggesting estate planning strategies based on a person's situation.